6 Steps to a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Email Marketing is the process of delivering relevant, engaging and timely marketing messages to a specific list of recipients via email. It is a great way to target specific groups and it’s relatively cheap too. It is not a strategy for large companies with even larger marketing budgets, nor is it only for the IT guru. Email marketing is simple and extremely beneficial for SMEs.

Email Marketing

Follow these six simple tips to create and run a successful Email Marketing campaign.

# 1. Email sign up

Have a sign up form on your website which is short, simple and has a limited number of required fields. First name and email address should suffice. Information required to sign up to receive emails should be minimal. This will encourage people to complete the sign up process rather than be put off by the number of required fields. Include an explicit message simply stating that the person is signing up to receive emails from your company on a regular basis.

# 2. Build segmented and targeted lists

Email marketing will only be successful if you are sending targeted content to specific lists. For example, sending an email with “Exam Study Tips” to people who have already passed their exams is pointless. They probably won’t open it and may even mark it as spam! As Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail has pointed out; “Increasingly, the mass marketing is turning into a mass of niches”.

# 3. Create short lists and keep them updated

Create a content calendar/schedule and stick to it! In time, people will become accustomed to receiving your emails and will look forward to opening them and reading your updates. Be sure to offer an incentive to your readers; exclusive news or even money off your product/service. Consider using MailChimp to send your email campaign so that you can use the MailChimp 3rd Party Application on Facebook to gather sign up. Always be aware of Data Protection laws when dealing with data.

Email Marketing

 # 4. Design

 There are many platforms available for email template design however my personal favourite is MailChimp. One of the many benefits of using MailChimp (or similar service) is that managing your lists becomes much easier. Did you know that neither Outlook nor Android automatically download images in emails? Check what your email looks like without images; make sure there is clickable content.

 # 5. Content Creation

Create content which is useful and interesting for the reader.

  • Ensure your subject line is inviting and intriguing.
  • Keep the email short with headings and paragraphs of text. If there is a lot of text in relation to one specific topic, create a “Read More” link and direct the reader to the full article on your website.
  • Your email should also contain clear calls to action; click here, read more, join today and so on.
  • Remember WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) – Why are you emailing ME? Deals? Discounts? Exclusivity? News?

# 6. Analyse and Tweak

Always, always, ALWAYS analyse your Email Analytics. If using a platform like MailChimp, analytics are included and allow you to monitor who opened, clicked, unsubscribed, forwarded it on and so on. MailChimp analytics also check email addresses in your list and will highlight any which have bounced.

  • Use your analytics to discover your Optimum Time to send.
  • Unsubscribing is a good thing – it makes your lists more focused! You are now emailing a list of people who WANT to hear from you. (Of course, if the unsubscribe rates are high, your content needs to be reviewed!)
  • Email marketing is not the best way of acquiring new prospects. It is best for communicating with customers and leads.
  • Email marketing is just another element of your Digital Marketing plan, be sure to integrate it with your plan.

Email Marketing

If you have any suggestions for, questions about or experiences of running a successful email marketing campaign please let me know in the comments below.

Written by

Aoife Rigney is a digital marketing and social media strategist, advisor, trainer and event speaker. Aoife loves her work – it’s her passion! From training one to one or a large group, advising a business on their digital strategy or speaking to a room of people – she simply loves it!


  1. Email marketing is still powerful technique for all marketers and it is very cost effective in nature. However it depends on the business for which they want to use it. There is an interesting video about digital marketing by Infosys Brandedge. They’ve simlified the digital marketing to a great extent. You can have a look at it.

  2. Very useful article Aoife. I especially love the point that ” Increasingly, the mass marketing is turning into a mass of niches”. I am just dipping my toe in email marketing and look forward to more articles on the topic

    • Hi, Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I love email marketing – it is so simple, quick and best of all cheap! The only downside is one must be extremely careful when handling data – especially personal data such as email addresses!! I would love to hear how your email marketing goes… If you have any questions just drop me an email at any stage! :)

  3. Hello Aoife, Very well written and useful article. I have just started reading on email marketing as I am doing a campaign. Even though I am keeping it very simple esp the sign up form, I am not able to get them registered. This is actually one of the challenges I am facing.:(

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